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Bellefontaine, OH

West Liberty-Salem issue edges closer to August ballot (Audio included)

The West Liberty-Salem Board of Education moved the district’s school improvement project one step closer to the August ballot Tuesday.

The board passed its second resolution to certify the issue to go to the Logan and Champaign County Boards of Election. The project is the OSFC project that will make improvements to the district’s campus.

Since the initial issue failed last November, the district has done a lot of community feedback and used that feedback to make changes to the issue.

The district is now proposing a .25 percent income tax and 3.62 mil property tax to fund the levy. The two options would be used in a 50/50 relationship to fund the levy. This was done to spread the cost of the project among the community.

Also the district scaled back on the project. The initial project would have cost 7.55 mills. With the changes the district has made, the current project would be the equivalent of 5.91 mills. The district will still take care of all of its major goals with the project and will not build a second gym. Not making a second gym reduced the cost of the project by about three million dollars. The district also removed as much excess cost from the project as it could for the new proposed levy.

The district also has a one percent income tax renewal on the May 7th ballot. The renewal has been on the ballot since 1992. The renewal is used to pay for the building’s operating expenses and is used to fund many school programs. Without these funds, the district would not be able to provide the same staffing and services it does now. The renewal levy passed by 75 percent the previous time it came up and the district is optimistic it will pass this time.

The retirement of long time band and instrumental music director Dan Gordon was approved by the board. Dan served in education for 33 years including 28 years with West Liberty-Salem.

The board also had its first reading of a policy that will change the district’s teacher evaluation process. The district has to make a change to its policy because the state passed an evaluation framework that will guide how districts do their teacher evaluations. The district has been working since November to update its evaluation process to match the state’s model.

The board discussed a substitute budget bill on its way through Columbus right now. The Ohio House of Representatives made revisions to a budget bill introduced by Governor Kasich. The bill would put some funding back in place for districts that were seeing disproportional cuts. It would also put a 6 percent cap on districts seeing an increase in funding from the state. West Liberty-Salem should be one of the districts that will benefit from the substitute budget bill.

Superintendent Kraig Hissong discusses the meeting’s topics.

The board will meet in special session on May 8th at 8 am in the conference room to review the results of the May 7th primary election.

The West Liberty-Salem Board of Education will meet again in regular session on May 21st at 7 pm.

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